Noctua, an Austrian maker of high-end computer cooling equipment has released an enormous passive CPU cooler weighing 2.6 pounds. The NH-P1 cooler is designed to operate in computer systems with few or no cooling fans, offering the promise of completely silent operation and low power consumption.
A significant benefit of passive builds is reduced dust buildup. The large amount of airflow generated by some actively cooled PC builds draws in a large amount of dust. Passive builds aren’t constantly sucking in their surroundings, but they are still able to vent their heat via convection and other means such as natural, gentle airflow. The NH-P1 also has soldered heatpipes and fins, and Noctua touts that this will make it last longer than other coolers which are pressed together.
The Noctua NH-P1 is designed to operate with CPUs that have ‘low to moderate’ heat output (according to Noctua) and that is likely because of the complications of making fanless cooling work. Theoretically, the NH-P1 can be used with some i9 processors that do have a high heat output.
However, their clock speeds may have to be limited to make it work. Noctua noted the particular importance of Turbo CPU speeds and overclocked setups. The NH-P1 is a high-performance cooler. However, the laws of physics still apply, and they’re unforgiving to devices with little or no airflow.
This means that you’ll have to ensure that your passive airflow is adequate with a cleverly designed setup. The NH-P1 can also be fitted with a 120mm fan to enhance cooling performance. Noctua uploaded a 15-minute video (shown above) explaining how to build a passive PC, and how to choose the right components.
The Noctua NH-P1 starts at $110 (depending on where you buy it).